Sometimes, rumors spread like wildfire. Celebrity gossip, cooking tips and tricks, and how to save a bit of money. The humble air conditioner is not immune. We often get asked a variety of questions from clients and the public about how they can save money on their running costs, or how they can get peak performance from their system. Here, we look to bust some of the common myths around air conditioning.
Myth #1: “My air conditioner will run efficiently, it doesn’t matter where and how it’s installed.”
BUSTED. With a ducted air conditioner, the efficiency of the unit is affected by both the placement of both the outdoor unit and the ceiling outlets. Placing the outdoor unit in a north-facing location means it is exposed to the sun for a longer duration of time, making the unit and surrounding air warmer. Ensuring the outdoor unit is located in a position away from pot plants, bins or other obtrusive objects means that no air recirculation can occur. This is critical for efficient performance. If the outdoor unit is sucking in its own hot air time after time, it will need to work harder and harder to turn it to cool air.
Placing the ceiling outlets close to windows and doorways also affects their ability to cool the room. A custom-designed air conditioning package will eliminate this. We recommend placing the outdoor unit on the south-eastern end of the home, and the ceiling outlets towards the centre of the room, away from doors, windows and light fixtures.
Myth #2: “I don’t need air conditioning, I’ve got ceiling fans. They keep my room cooler.”
BUSTED: The fans move air creating a wind-chill effect. But this doesn’t change the room temperature. Fans are only useful to cool down your already perspiring body temperature, but not the actual room temperature. The breeze from a fan works by pushing the stagnant layer of air that surrounds the body, preventing heat loss. When that insulating layer of air is removed, this increases a body’s heat loss to make it feel cooler.
Myth #3 : “My air conditioner only cools the air and nothing else.”
BUSTED: Air conditioners don’t just cool, they condition. Meaning they reduce the humidity, filter the air, and heat and cool. This is due to the refrigerant in the air conditioning system. The refrigerant can absorb and release heat because it can change from a liquid to a gas, allowing for the system to cool.
Myth #4: “I’ll choose a bigger air conditioner, as it’ll be more efficient.”
BUSTED: It might seem logical: Bigger air conditioner = more power = better efficiency. However, a bigger air conditioner also uses a lot more energy to run, and can cool a room too quickly, reducing the dehumidifying effect. It’s important to find the optimal size air conditioner for your application. Both under-sizing and oversizing a system will have negative effects to your energy bill and ultimately your comfort. Think about it this way. Choosing a similarly sized car with a bigger engine will mean it is faster, but it will also use more fuel and in most cases require more maintenance.
If you’re unsure about the size or type of air conditioner, take a look at our Complete Air Conditioning Buyers Guide video:
Myth #5: “I’m not fussed about my air filter, they don’t matter.”
BUSTED: All air that comes out of the outlets in your room must pass through the air filter at some point. It’s paramount the filter is kept clean and isn’t damaged. Blocked or clogged filters are often the cause of energy usage increases and less cooling abilities of the air conditioner. Pleated filters feature the latest in filter technology, and are recommended for all ducted air conditioners. A pleated filter can also capture finer dust and dirt that traditional washable filters miss.
If you’re not sure how to clean your filter, take a look at our How to Clean your Ducted Air Conditioning Filter video here:
Myth #6: “If I spend too much time in air conditioning, I get sick.”
BUSTED: The air conditioner conditions the air, and part of this is dehumidifying and cleansing the air (through the air filter). A dirty air conditioning filter does have the potential to cause allergies as when it’s clogged, it cannot effectively trap and collect new dust. It’s important to wash the filter every 3 months if you have a ducted air conditioner (if you have a washable filter). If you have a pleated filter, then it can be changed over at your next service.
If you’d like to clean your filter, then take a look at our How to Clean your Ducted Air Conditioning Filter video here:
Myth #7: “Air conditioners only cool, I still need a gas heater for winter.”
BUSTED: Almost all modern air conditioners are reverse cycle, meaning they heat AND cool. Whether it’s a ducted system, or a split system, the chances are it’ll both heat and cool. Yes, you can purchase cool-only air conditioners, but they’re hard to find and designed for commercial use. In-fact, a modern split system air conditioner, such as Daikin’s latest range of split systems, can save up to 32% off your gas heating bills.
Here, we demonstrate exactly how much more efficient a new split system air conditioner is over a traditional gas flued filter:
Myth #8: “22° is the most efficient, ideal temperature for cooling. It’d better leave it on that.”
BUSTED: There is no one “ideal” set point temperature. Rather, a spectrum of temperatures between 23° and 26° for cooling mode is recommended. The comfort and efficiency of the system is also affected by the location of the outdoor unit, and the ceiling outlets in relation to windows, doorways and natural light. Also, everyone’s idea of comfort is different, so one set point isn’t bound to be a crowd pleaser.
Take a look at how easy it is to set the ideal temperature with the latest AirTouch 4 smart controller:
Myth #9: “I’ll hide my the outdoor unit behind some plants. Or, I might box it up. I doesn’t look that nice. It won’t matter.”
BUSTED: It WILL matter. If you box up the outdoor unit part of your air conditioning system, it will put immense strain on the system and cause it to trip out or worse still, break. This is due to the system not being able to suck in enough fresh outside air. If it’s only able to suck and use it’s own recirculated air, then the performance is affected drastically. Whilst the outdoor unit might not be the most pleasant thing to look at, especially when placed on a balcony or patio. But it is never a good idea to cover it up with plants or box it up. You will only be shortening it’s lifespan and increasing your energy bill.